Located on the banks of the historic Susquehanna Flats, the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum houses a particular art form, one that most folks probably don’t spend much time contemplating: fake birds.
Decoys have been a central element of Chesapeake culture for centuries. In the beginning, they were made for one purpose – to lure waterfowl within range of the hunter’s shotgun. Decoys were simple, utilitarian representations of ducks and geese rough-hewn from wood. No one considered them art. Today, decoys lure far more people than waterfowl. One is perhaps more likely to find a decoy adorning a collector’s mantlepiece than floating in a hunter’s rig. Contemporary carvers produce sophisticated works of art with century-old skills that have been passed down from master to apprentice for generations.
Established in 1986 as a private, non-profit institution the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum contains one of the finest collections of working and decorative Chesapeake Bay decoys ever assembled. With displays of over 1200 decoys and decorative carvings by masters such as R. Madison Mitchell, Bob McGaw, and the Ward Brothers, the exhibits that range from single display cases to room-sized waterfowling displays.
Whether for the appreciation of fowl, person, or both the Decoy Museum strives to communicate the heritage and art of decoy making to a national audience.
Know Before You Go
From North or South on I-95: Exit I-95 at exit 89 East to Havre de Grace. Proceed 4.6 miles to Juniata Street. Turn right and proceed .9 mile to Revolution Street and turn left. At Union Avenue turn right. Proceed to the end of Union and turn left onto Commerce Street. Follow signs to the museum.
From Eastern Shore Points: Take MD Route 213 North to Route 40 East. Cross the Hatem Bridge and at the first traffic light turn left onto Otsego Street. Follow to the end of the street and bare right onto Union Ave. Proceed to the end of Union Ave. and turn left onto Commerce Street. Look for museum on right.
From Pennsylvania: Take PA Route 272/MD Route 222 to Perryville. Cross Hatem Bridge and follow MD Route 40 to Revolution Street. Turn left. Proceed to the end of Union and turn left onto Commerce Street. Follow signs to the museum.